10 Best

Backpack Coolers

of December 2023

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A Guide to Selecting a Backpack Cooler

Yehudah Posnick

When going camping, you’ll probably want to take along lots of cold drinks. You can always take along an ice chest. Some of them are large enough to hold over 150 cans of drinks plus ice! And they can keep food and drink cold for days. But, the problem with a chest that big is that it’s not very portable. (In fact, an ice chest that big will usually be on wheels, since it’s too heavy to lift.) If you want to carry a good-sized quantity of drinks with you when hiking, a backpack cooler might be just the right thing.

A backpack cooler has room for ice, as well as anywhere from 20 to as many as 54 cans. They’re a great way to be able to carry around food and drink, and still have your hands free! Some also have side compartments for small belongings, like your phone or tablet. Or you can take along a few bottles of wine as well. And some even include a bottle opener, so you won’t be stuck if you forgot to take along a bottle opener!

We’ll go through some of the most popular backpack coolers. They come in all sorts of sizes. Some of them are large enough for an entire weekend with your family. And others are so handy, you can use them just to pack your lunch when you go to work!


What are the features of a good backpack cooler?

  • Insulation: A good backpack cooler should be designed to insulate your food and drinks properly, even in the heat of summer.

  • Durability: It also has to be durable, since you’ll take it along when hiking and camping out. The exterior of the bag should be made of high-quality materials that are waterproof, tear-resistant, and easy to clean.

  • Large capacity: A backpack cooler should have a spacious interior that allows for easy access to your food and drinks.

  • Comfortable: A backpack cooler is going to be heavy, so it should have comfortable, adjustable straps that distribute weight evenly on your shoulders. You’ll also see that they have a padded back panel to relieve pressure from your body when you wear it for an extended period.

  • Additional storage options: Additional features such as side pockets for storing accessories or essentials and bottle openers add convenience to the user experience, making it perfect for those who enjoy a packed lunch or cold drinks on the go.

What reviewers say

Here are some customers’ impressions about the backpack cooler that they bought:

  • How to fill up your backpack: The manufacturers of these backpacks recommend putting the ice into your backpack first, and then adding the drinks in rows until you reach around 1-2 inches below the mouth of the backpack. The layer of air at the top will insulate the food and drinks that you store inside.

  • Insulates hot food as well: If you choose to take hot food with you when camping, the same insulation that keeps food cold with serve to keep food hot. The Everlasting Comfort Beach Cooler Backpack will be able to keep your food warm, without any spoilage, for as long as 24 hours. Users recommend wrapping hot food containers in a towel, to prevent damaging the inner insulating lining of the backpack.

  • Weight of the backpack: You’ll see a lot of variation in the weight of these backpacks. One of the lighter models is the IceMule Jaunt Collapsible Backpack Cooler. The 9-liter capacity version weighs 1.6 pounds, while the larger 15-liter capacity backpack weighs only 1.8 pounds. On the opposite end of the spectrum, IceMule makes the 30-liter capacity Boss Backpack Cooler illustrated below, which weighs 6.6 lbs.